By Nicole Hennessy
City officials in Avon and Avon Lake are moving forward on a collaboration to manage stormwater flowing into Avon Lake from Avon.
With the help of Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funds specifically reserved for municipalities working together, the two cities will team up to improve the Central Avon Lake Drainage Project (CALDP), a storm sewer drainage system that flows through the central portion of Avon Lake from Webber Road directly into Lake Erie.
The focus of this project will be to extend the CALDP southward from Webber Road and enlarge a retention basin located near the Avon Lake Building and Service departments at 750 Avon Belden Road.
The basin was originally constructed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the 1980s. The CALDP dates back to 2000.
“The reason for this project is to take that water that is now going into that basin and divert it from the SR 83 storm sewer and put it into the CALDP sewer, which was designed to take it,” said Joe Reitz, Avon Lake’s public works director.
Many residents have grown frustrated with flooding in recent years. And while both cities have been studying strategies like this, Reitz says he isn’t sure this project would have been successful before now.
“We realistically know what water is coming in from Avon and that pipe – that basin – can handle it,” said Reitz.
“Five years ago there was a different water pattern in Avon than there is right now, so if we’d have built this five years ago it might have not been able to handle the amount of water coming in there now.”
The project is estimated to cost $870,000. Having won a $375,000 grant and a $375,000 zero-percent interest loan from OPWC, the cities will split the difference of $118,000.
“This is the first time the two cities have worked together on a storm project, especially of this size,” said Reitz.
Similar projects continue to be studied.
Gable and Heider creeks, which run through the Kopf Family Reservation, may be a part of future stormwater management efforts.
An Avon stormwater project the city was looking at in 2015 would have diverted water from Schwartz Creek along Nagel Road into Heider Ditch and into Avon Lake.
This initiative lost traction, but Reitz said work in the areas isn’t off the table.
Of the CALDP project, Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said, “It helps us, too.”Just as studies and initiatives are being managed in Avon Lake, the city of Avon continues to seek ways to improve drainage and prevent flooding.
This includes projects like the Lorain County Metro Parks wetlands initiative spanning the approximately 57 acres of land in the area of Riegelsberger and Schwartz roads.
The public park will help with water retention that will benefit the local ecosystem.
Also, Jensen said, the city is always on the lookout for innovative ways to include water management in new developments as they go up.
Parks similar to the Metro Parks project in other areas of the city have been part of that discussion.
“I don’t know if it’ll ever go away,” Jensen said of the city’s issues with flooding.
Looking toward the CALDP project as a step in the right direction, he added, “It’s another little piece that we’ve added to help.”
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